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European fast-fashion retailer opens DC on eve of U.S. expansion


New York -- An Irish fast-fashion leader is getting ready to make its U.S. debut.

Primark, known for its value prices and on-trend fashions for the entire family, leased a 677,000-sq.-ft. distribution center to support its entry into the United States.

The first Primark store opens on Sept. 10 in downtown Boston, in the Burnham Building, the site of the city’s iconic Filene's department store. It will be followed by a second opening in November, in the King of Prussia mall, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, via a leasing deal with Sears Holding Corp. Six additional openings are planned by year-end, with stores in Burlington and Braintree, Massachusetts; Danbury, Connecticut; Freehold, New Jersey; Willow Grove, Pennsylvania; and Staten Island, New York.

To support those locations, and presumably many more to come, Primark leased a space in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, that will be operated by Exel, the wholly owned North American division of global logistics leader Deutsche Post DHL Group. Exel will manage the warehouse operations and be responsible for transporting merchandise to Primark’s stores.

“The entire team at Primark is thrilled to be opening our Bethlehem distribution center and to contribute to this robust community,” Primark CEO Paul Marchant said at the ribbon cutting of the new facility. “This centrally located facility is a cornerstone to our plans in officially launching our business in the Northeast and this opening marks a key milestone for the Primark brand.”

Primark operates 290 stores encompassing 11 million sq. ft. of selling space in the United Kingdom; Republic of Ireland; Spain; Portugal; Germany; the Netherlands; Belgium; Austria and France. Those stores are supported by a network of five distribution centers.

“We are excited to support Primark’s stores in the Northeast and help them grow their fashion brand in another market,” said Dan McNutt, senior VP of retail at Exel. “With Exel managing the distribution center and transportation services for Primark, the company can focus on their customers.”

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